I should probably be clear, right off the bat, that this “This is 40” post is, somewhat surprisingly, not about the motion picture This is 40.
Certainly, I have little doubt I’ll get around to doing 100 words on the film eventually, since that kind of adult romantic comedy makes up 90% of the movies the Puddinette and I watch together.
Nonetheless, we’re not talking about that today. Today we’re talking about my age. In four short days, I’m going to turn 40 years old. That kind of seems like a big deal to me. I mean, 30 was, you know whatever. At 30, you still have pretty much no idea what you’re doing with your life, except probably not going to clubs anymore because, damn, the kids are making those places louder and louder and more and more crowded. There are plenty of 30 year-olds still making questionable long-term life choices and acting like fools.
But 40? Forty, man, is officially middle-aged. Forty means you should probably have most of your shit together. Forty is about time to go pick out that ridiculously irresponsible and impractical red sports car that’s so little you have to wedge yourself and your 1920’s-era paperboy-style cap into it with a can of WD-40 and a shoehorn.
But I’ll have to save what 40 fully means to me for a post next week.
Today’s topic is actually snoring. As I’ve mentioned before, and much to Puddinette’s constant dread, sleeping—err, that is, attempting to sleep—beside me must be very much like trying to score some solid REM-based Z’s on a park bench surrounded by a work crew removing the adjoining sidewalk with jackhammers. You can ask anyone who’s ever shared a room with me. I don’t so much “snore” as I shake Heaven and Earth with quaking, ear-shattering vibrations borne of my nose and mouth.
Honestly, if OSHA knew about it, they’d be making my wife wearing ear protection just like the do drummers and stage hands at a rock concert.
Nearing 40, then, and knowing that I pretty much ruin her attempt to sleep every night as well as occasionally even wake myself up with the Snore of Eternal Torment, I figured it might be a good time to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor about it. You know, just to find out if there’s anything new they might be able to do that they couldn’t do last time I saw the ENT.
Oh, yes, I’ve been down this road before, by the way, and got myself a diagnosis. I suffer from an egregiously deviated septum, just like my father before me. What that means is that my septum—the dividing flap of cartilage in one’s nose—leans more to the right way back up in my sinuses than your average Tea Party Congressman from Mississippi grandstanding on a Fox morning show.
Much to my surprise, though, Dr. ENT didn’t immediately take a look at my nose and say, “Yep, it’s messed up. Only way to fix is to break your nose and straight things out. And not only is it as painful a procedure you’re likely to find this side of childbirth and/or Dante’s Inferno, getting your insurance company to pay for it will require a Persian lamp, a genie, and at least three wishes (one for every time you’ll have to submit the claim).”
No, instead, he sprayed one nostril with a local anesthetic and then proceeded to shove a snaking optical device up my horn. And let me tell you, sure, the thing looked innocuous; it was barely as large as a common earthworm. In practice, though, it felt like having a full-sized plantain jammed back into my sinuses.
Complaints aside, upon examining my sinuses and throat, Dr. ENT removed his PVC-pipe device and announced, “Well, that could have looked better.”
Which is, of course, what you always want to hear a doctor say. It’s right up there with, “I’m going to need you to drop your pants, and turn around”, or, “Put your feet up in the stirrups and relax” (I imagine).
Dr. ENT then proceeded to tell me that, yes, sure, my septum is quite a mess, but that’s probably not what’s causing the Snore of Doom. No sir, that’s much more likely because the top of my esophagus is rife with damage from prolonged acid reflux.
That’s right, the tissue in my throat is apparently soft and spongy like half of a grapefruit that’s been smashed on by a four-year old with a meat tenderizer and then left out in the rain and sun for a month. When I fall asleep, then, all that tissue slumps together like a septuagenarian at Shady Acres after the 3:30 evening meal, in the second frame of Wheel of Future
So, yes, I learned this week that the snoring that has plagued my wife for the past decade isn’t mostly because my nose is a bigger wreck than the Titanic or the lives of the people you see on TLC and MTV nowadays. No, no, the Snore of Terrible Loudness is, in fact, actually the result of ninja reflux.
This is the kind of thing that would only happen to me.
This is the kind of thing you start to find when you turn 40.
This is the kind of thing that makes a man wonder: when’s my tiny, too-fast, red car being delivered?